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Wurden leads Seattle U. team to award
SEATTLE — Corinne Wurden and the Seattle University women’s tennis team may have a small roster, but the community impact the team is having is far from little.
The varsity team received the Team Mission Award at this year’s Student-Athlete Awards Show in May. Each team is required to do service projects as part of their time as a student-athlete, but the team went above and beyond, personally organizing and participating in several events throughout the year, according to information from Seattle University spokeswoman Mollie Hanke.
Wurden, who grew up in Poulsbo, is heading into her senior year and said that, even though she knew the team had worked hard this year to serve their community, winning an award like this is “always a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.”
Wurden has type 1 diabetes, so the work the team did with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is a cause close to her heart. According to teammate Kristen James, “This award goes to Corinne, because she organized all of the service projects we did. The honorary sub-award should say, ‘To Corinne.’ ”
The team participated in several events with the research foundation, including handing out candy canes at the Gingerbread House in the fall, volunteering at the foundation’s gala in March, and raising more than $600 as participants in the Nordstrom Beat the Bridge Run. Wurden had participated in the run for several years and, upon coming to Seattle U, she got her teammates involved.
Community service isn’t unknown to Wurden. A 2010 graduate of Central Kitsap High School, she worked closely with the Central Kitsap Food Bank, she wrote to the Herald in an email. That work included working with the school food drive. Wurden also volunteered for the Yesler Terrace after-school program as a tutor, and the Cherry Street Food Bank in downtown Seattle.
Along with working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the year’s Seattle U women’s team organized the program’s first “Pink Match” to benefit breast cancer research and to honor a Seattle U tennis supporter recently stricken with the disease, according to Hanke.
“We personally knew a woman who had just passed away from breast cancer, so obviously we were like, ‘We need to do this,’ ” Wurden said in a press release. “It was interesting organizing it and putting it together.
“The whole team was great in organizing things like what we should wear, with our pink socks and ribbons. It was really fun and we ended up raising a lot more than I thought we would, so that was great.”
Wurden and James each played tennis throughout their younger years. They also played soccer and enjoyed skiing and snowboarding. Both Wurden and James narrowed their focus in junior high. They each dreamed of continuing competition in college, and, for Wurden, her first steps onto the Seattle U campus helped ensure making that happen.
Wurden earned her way on to the Seattle U team after four years of high school tennis. After falling short of a State finish in the 4A State Tournament in 2007 as a freshman, Wurden won the doubles State Championship with Aya Sugimoto in 2008; the team also won the team state title. In 2009, Wurden went on to finish sixth in singles competition at State. In her senior year, she placed fifth in singles at State.
More than anything, Wurden and James’ time as Seattle U thus far has made real the importance and impact of the SU mission statement.
“One thing that is interesting is how we live in the city and it really opens your eyes to a different side of life in general,” James said in a press release. “That’s been good for me. You know that homelessness and other aspects of life exist, but when you’re kind of living amongst it, it becomes real.
“Once you experience it, you think about how you want to make a difference and it helps you get out of your bubble.”
Wurden agrees with the unique quality of Seattle U’s location.
“I’m a nursing major and a theology minor, so my last two classes have really been talking about the ‘just and humane world’ part of the mission statement,” she said. “I’ve always known [poverty] was there, but I’ve just recently re-thought about what I want to do with my nursing degree and wanting to help people. It also re-emphasizes how much more volunteer work I want the team to do next year.”
Wurden wants to work in the community health sector after earning her degree, she wrote in an email. That work will include working with the homeless population — she wants to ensure they get the best health care possible.
Wurden would like to continue working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, extending that work to join the Youth Leadership Committee that represents the foundation, she said. She will also volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club’s after-school programs next year.